Articles and Analysies
Will the united Sudan remain attractive for all under the NCP regime?! By Dr. Mahmoud A. Suleiman
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Oct 3, 2007 - 8:57:21 PM



Will the united Sudan remain attractive for all under the NCP regime?!

By Dr. Mahmoud A. Suleiman

The concept of self-determination is a very powerful one. As Wolfgang Danspeckgruber put it: "No other concept is as powerful, visceral, emotional, unruly and steep in creating aspirations and hopes as self-determination." It evokes emotions, expectations and fears which often lead to conflict and bloodshed.

What is Self-determination?
Essentially, the right to self-determination is the right of a people to determine its own destiny. In particular, the principle allows a people to choose its own political status and to determine its own form of economic, cultural and social development.

Self-determination in International Law
The principle of self-determination is prominently embodied in Article I of the Charter of the United Nations. Earlier it was explicitly embraced by US President Woodrow Wilson, by Lenin and others, and became the guiding principle for the reconstruction of
Europe following World War I. The principle was incorporated into the 1941 Atlantic Charter and the Dumbarton Oaks proposals which evolved into the United Nations Charter. Its inclusion in the UN Charter marks the universal recognition of the principle as fundamental to the maintenance of friendly relations and peace among states. It is recognized as a right of all peoples in the first article common to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which both entered into force in 1976. 1 Paragraph 1 of this Article provides:
All peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.

The right to self-determination of peoples is recognized in many other international and regional instruments, including (1)   the Declaration of Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation Among States adopted b the UN General Assembly in 1970, (2) the Helsinki Final Act adopted by the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE) in 1975, (3) the African Charter of Human and Peoples' Rights of 1981; (4)   the CSCE Charter of Paris for a New Europe adopted in 1990; ( 5) the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action of 1993; ( 6) the International Court of Justice in the Namibia case; (7) the Western Sahara case; ( 8)   the East Timor case in which its erga omnes character was confirmed. Furthermore, the scope and content of the right to self-determination has been elaborated upon by (9) the UN Human Rights Committee; (10) the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination; (11) and numerous leading international jurists.

That the right to self-determination is part of so called hard law has been affirmed also by the International Meeting of Experts for the Elucidation of the Concepts of Rights of Peoples brought together by UNESCO from 1985 to 1991, 12, it came to the conclusion that (1) peoples' rights are recognized in international law; (2) the list of such rights is not very clear, but also that (3) hard law does in any event include the right to self-determination and the right to existence, in the sense of the Genocide Convention.

The inclusion of the right to self-determination in the International Covenants on Human Rights and in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, referred to above, emphasizes that self-determination is an integral part of human rights law which has a universal application. At the same time, it is recognized that compliance with the right of self-determination is a fundamental condition for the enjoyment of other human rights and fundamental freedoms, be they civil, political, economic, social or cultural.

Our unequivocal belief in the importance and the value of the Unity of Sudan is beyond any thread of doubt.   The principles that govern unity are justice, equality and collective feeling of shared belonging to the country.   In the current absence of justice and equality in the Sudan under the rule of the National Congress Party’s (NCP) vile regime, the country will soon be heading towards disintegration and partition into petty small states similar to what happened to the former Yugoslavia .   

There has been unprecedented reference to self-determination recently in Sudan .   On 18 September 2007 , JEM leader, Dr. Khalil Ibrahim was reported as has stated that if the peace talks with Khartoum should fail, they would step up their demands for self-determination to independence for the Darfur region. When people in a country get disenchanted and feel it of no avail to live in an oppressive unjust regime, nonviolent peaceful protest against it starts first.   Other sequence of events will follow each other in the form of Civil disobedience, Direct action which can include such activities as strikes, workplace occupations, sabotage, sit-ins, squatting, demonstrations, vandalism or graffiti, revolutionary/guerrilla warfare with armed struggle and a call for secession as a last resort. In today’s world, it is ever more important for those who continue to be denied their rights or remain excluded be given an opportunity to present their case. Consequences of marginalisation need to be addressed in Sudan and the voices of the oppressed majority heard. So long as the National Islamic Front (NIF) wing National Congress Party controls virtually all national wealth and power---political and military---peace will never come to this tortured land.

The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) granted t he right of self-determination to the people of Southern Sudan , working to promote and cement an attractive unity for Southern Sudanese during the six year interim period and to establish a united democratic secular Sudan through a country wide transparent and inclusive electoral exercise. We strongly belief that the NCP government is the major thread to the unity of Sudan through its insistence on injustice and Apartheid like discrimination against the people of Darfur, South of Sudan, Kordofan, Blue Nile, Manaseer and Eastern Sudan.   Observers feel it no wonder if the people of Darfur demand Self-determination when their legitimate rights are denied by the Government of Sudan (GOS) in the upcoming ‘peace’ negotiations in Libya .   The uncompromising adherence of the NCP elements to their old habits of stubborn position would be the prime mover of a call for secession and dismantling of the country. Given the foregoing facts, will the united Sudan remain attractive for all under NCP regime?! That is a sixty-four- thousand- dollar question.


Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) Website:

Self-Determination In Relation To Individual Human Rights, Democracy and the Protection of the Environment

The Implementation Of The Right To Self-Determination As A Contribution To Conflict Prevention

The Implementation Of The Right To Self-Determination As A Contribution To Conflict Prevention

The Question Of Self-Determination: The Cases Of East Timor , Tibet And Western Sahara

Self-Determination Conference Examines Implementation of Self-Determination by the UN Mechanisms.

Author can be contacted at:[email protected]



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